Fast bowler Pat Cummins began his tenure as Australia’s Test captain with an emphatic Ashes series triumph but the 28-year-old knows his team must succeed overseas, particularly in the subcontinent, to be counted among the best.
Assuming the role after Tim Paine resigned over a ‘sexting’ scandal, Cummins not only oversaw Australia’s 4-0 romp against England but also finished as the highest wicket-taker in the five-match series. Australia will face vastly different conditions when they visit Pakistan for a full tour, their first to the South Asian country since 1998, beginning with three tests in March. They are also scheduled to tour Sri Lanka and India later this year.
“That’s the next big challenge,” Cummins told reporters yesterday. “I think the best teams in the past not only won at home but they were really successful overseas as well.
“Pakistan next on the radar for us, it’s going to be huge. Lots of our young players have not played a lot overseas. Even in the last couple of years, I don’t think we played a Test overseas. (We are) excited to go and try our ways in different conditions.”
Cummins’ leadership qualities were on full display during 4-0 Ashes series win.
“The boys are fantastic in that space. They always look after each other. It’s a really tight-knit group. “I think one of the reasons is there is a lot of respect and love for each other.”
While Cummins made an immediate impact as captain, coach Justin Langer’s future looks uncertain once his contract expires after the Pakistan tour.
Langer appeared on sticky wicket last year amid reports that his coaching style had caused dressing room discontentment.
The former Test batsman then termed it a “wake-up call and has since taken a low-key role in guiding Australia to their maiden T20 World Cup title last year and overseeing their Ashes victory.
Langer has expressed his desire to continue in the job and Cummins said after Sunday’s victory in the fifth Test in Hobart that it would be “nice to have clarity” on the situation. “He’s been really great through the World Cup and the Ashes. Honestly, it’s not been a talking point at all within the camp,” he added.
Meanwhile Former England captain Alastair Cook said England had reached “rock bottom” with their abject batting collapse in Hobart on Sunday as the latest defeat of a calamitous Ashes series ramped up the pressure on skipper Joe Root and coach Chris Silverwood.
Australia crushed England by 146 runs with two days to spare in the day-night test as the hosts wrapped up the series 4-0. The visitors were competitive in only a handful of sessions over the five tests and the collapse in Hobart, where they lost 10 wickets for 56 runs, was hard to watch, said Cook.
“That was very tough viewing, that has to be our rock bottom, there cannot be a worse place than getting bowled out in an hour and a half,” Cook said on BT Sport. “The conditions are tough and some good bowling, but there was no resilience there.
“That’s the biggest shock as a batter and a professional who plays cricket ... once they lose one or two, no one steps up and stop the slide.
“We need to look at everything, start rebuilding this test team. No stone can be left unturned as it has to be better.”
England suffered heavy defeats in Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne before salvaging a draw in Sydney. Former skipper Mike Atherton agreed there had to be an overhaul of the England management after another “utterly abject, humiliating collapse” even as captain Root said he would like to remain in the role.
“England have not mastered the art of batting, not by a long way, but they have mastered the art of the collapse,” Atherton wrote in his column for The Times.
“Root is an outstanding man, a brilliant batsman but a captain who has run his race. Beforehand, he said this tour would define his captaincy and here we are.”
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